Writing Portfolio: Five Essays on America
































In WWII This is not a story which I heard about within the last couple of days. Rather it is a story which I had heard when I was very little. This is not a peaceful everyday type of story; instead it has to do with a type of my grandfather’s life where everyday meant possible death for him and any other American who had fought for their lives during World War II. I had heard that my grandfather fought in World War II when I was little but I did not know much about it for he did not speak much of it. I remember that my mother had also told me some of the stories about how he had fought and how life was like for him during the war; he does not like to talk about it much.

My grandfather risked his life fighting for the US Navy and American citizens during World War II. He was stationed somewhere in the Pacific, to this day he does not know the exact coordinates, to patrol the region for potential threats such as the German and Japanese forces. A Japanese submarine crept up behind them and shot a torpedo from behind. The torpedo hit the destroyer and blew the engine room to pieces. Many of his best friends were in the engine room when the torpedo struck. Fortunately, he had gone up on the deck to just walk around because it was a nice day out.

Eventually, another ship came to tow them because they had absolutely no engine power and what was left of the engine room was filled with water or falling towards the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. No other ship or sub came to finish them off either. They had thought they hit the sub because the sonar did not come up with any objects except pieces of the depth charges which they had dropped. “The sub could have just dove deep enough to get out of the range of the sonar”, he said.











    8 Quail Run Rd. is one of the quietest places you could ever visit. The Giant Oak in my front yard exists in an area known as Pheasant Hill Estates which is a tight nit suburban community. From my front steps I have watched my the tree for roughly 12 days taking note of all the senses that came to me over that period of time. As Thoureau said, " Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of many petty states…", much like is my the oak tree in my front yard. It exists as one of many trees that are joined to form something greater, something we call nature.
     At around 5:15 I went out to observe my place. Usually my neighborhood is very quiet but tonight it was bustling. All you could hear were the sounds of cars creeping up and down my street and the sounds of the break pads of a screeching bicycle on its way home from the train station.  But even with all this commotion the tree remained silent, the tree seemed as if all the commotion didn’t bother it in the least. It served as an almost soothing effect to its surrounding area. The tree seemed extraordinarily peaceful, contrasting to the American way of life, which is get everything done as fast and done as well as it can possibly be done. But the tree being the exact opposite to America as a whole is what makes it so American to me because we are all a mix of different ethnic backgrounds joined to form what we call America, and the tree is just that another piece to the puzzle known as the United States.
     At the tree I noticed little Interaction with humans. But with animals I noticed a great deal of interaction. For example, the neighbors dog leaving his mark, or the squirrels and birds hustling around. The tree always seems to be there, not complaining but listening. I think in the end, humans interact with this place more through an understanding than a physical interaction. To me that understanding is a mutual agreement that we both carry on not thanking one another for anything but instead minding our own business and living our lives to the fullest.
     A change that I observed while observing the Giant Oak over a course of twelve days was the shedding of its leaves. I think this is a symbol of evolving of nature and our lives in general. The tree losing its leaves is a sign of changing and a new beginning which I believe is in direct relation to people and a sign of changing our ways of life. The second observation I observed were the marks left by animals on and all around my special place. Whether it was the markings left by my neighbors dog or the empty birds nest in the branches I still felt the tree had a greater meaning than what was there, visible to the naked eye. To me this represents that life goes on even through the worst situations.
      I think that by observing the lonely oak in my front yard as I did those 12 days I gained a greater understanding of nature as a whole. I realized that nature has a direct effect on almost everything that we do. From this essay I hope that I have not portrayed an effect that will make you want to go out and save the trees but instead something to the effect that you have a greater respect for nature and all the little things it does for us.













George and Ed were going on a trip to Hawaii by taking a plane flight directly there. They left a little earlier than they usually do for flights because they knew security at the airports were tighter than usual.
     They walked up to the gates and put their bags on the belt. George said to the security guard, “What’s that large box with all that junk doing there?” The guard replied, “ That’s all of the stuff that we won’t allow onto the plane. It will be mailed back to them in about a couple of weeks. In fact it looks like some of that is going to be your things as well. Let’s see you can’t take any of this aboard: pens, belt, hairdryer, golf clubs, you can definitely forget that, and that checkas board looks mighty dangerous as well. Ya can’t be too careful nowadays can you? Next!!”
     George replied, “ Ah hold on a minute buddy. None of that there is dangerous, I’m going on vacation, are you telling me the captain won’t allow any of this on board, even down in the cargo where no one can get ahold of it. That’s just freakin ridiculous.” “ Like I said ya can’t be too careful nowadays, don’t worry it will all be mailed back to you, and um while your at it take off that watch and gold chain. That can definitely be considered a dangerous weapon. Next!!” replied the guard.
     Ed moved up and said, “ Ok, you’re not taking anything away from me man, feel free to look through my bags but your not taking anything, got it?” The guard replied, “ You can either corporate or the National Guard will persecute you. Now put ya bags on the belt and then you can move up to checkpoint number twelve where they check your shoes. Now move along.”
     The guard then said, “Next!! Oh hey ma how’s it going? Put your bags on the belt and then walk through the metal detector.” “ Come on son you know I don’t have anything dangerous I would bring aboard the plane. Do I look like a terrorist to you? Ya gonna make me late for might flight I’m already runnin behind schedule.” “No ma but it you give me any more back talk you will be prosecuted, now move along.”












Walt Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing” is a poem which deals with the “sunny side” of America. Whitman takes a closer look at America’s working force. He opens up his ears and tunes them into the sounds of America’s workers.

In this poem, Whitman describes the workers as singing what they feel like, singing as they measure a beam, cut wood, or as they sew. You can see this because he says " The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam. The mason singing his as he makes ready for work....". Whitman stops to listen to all of these Americans and he tries to understand, in a way, what makes them tick. He comes to conclude that their music, their own music, whether it is made up as they go along or it is one of the most widely heard songs, they hum to it. Walt Whitman sees America as like a sing along play which goes on all day while people work, " I hear America singing the varied carols I hear."
Walt Whitman’s character is not prejudice in any way. You can see that through his thoughts that they are not racist or sexist in this poem.

 Whitman mentions a variety of people in this poem. He talks about men, women, girls, boys, and people of all different job types and people from all different regions of America. He mentions women in one of his lines which goes like this, " The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing. However, if you read closely enough you will see that Walt Whitman does not mention anyone whom is of a very high, popular profile or someone with an excess amount of wealth or even considered wealthy. Whitman mentions just the ordinary people with ordinary jobs, the majority of the population. He mentions the working middle class, not even hinting towards the rich or lower class of Americans.

Whitman’s poem is also very biased. You the reader can see this easily in one quick read of the poem. Whitman does not mention anything bad or depressing about America. He makes America seem like the perfect place to be with perfect working conditions. Everyone in his poem seems to be happy with what they are doing and have absolutely no concern in the world. They are humming to songs and they don’t seem to be overstressing themselves the least bit.

This poem, however, is supposed to make the reader feel happy and put you in a good mood. Whitman does not need to depress the reader with negative statistics about America. So its alright for his poem to be biased, Whitman does not want to make the reader sad and put you down into a negative spirit, but he wants to make you happy and seem like you too should be humming to a song because you too should not have a care in the world like Americans in “I Hear America Singing”. You should just do as they do, " Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs."






























  Many Americans might find themselves frequently arguing over the term “sport”. Almost everyone has heard one person or another says something like, “Oh racing cars is not a sport” or “Frisbee is so lame, that is by far not a sport.” Well what does “sport” actually mean; its definitely a flexible term. It can mean a game that is widely popular or it can mean a game that only handfuls of people have heard of. If a person were to mention hunting for instance they might get a mixed response, especially in America where everyone has their own little perspective on subject matters. However, the truth is that hunting is a very popular sport in America, even though it’s not nearly as much participated in as football, hockey, and baseball. Americans though are the best hunters in the world because they go for the biggest kills, they will not settle for anything less, that is what makes Americans the best at the sport.
    Hunting has been around for an extremely long time, ever since the Native Americans set foot on this soil. Hunting was first utilized in America as a means of obtaining food from the animals which grazed the lands. It became widely popular and when European settlers came to America they also participated in it here as they did in their homeland. However, over the years in which America constantly modernized, hunting became less and less a means of surviving. People began to settle down in one area and move around less frequently, as contradictory to earlier years. Thus they used farming techniques and eventually the majority of the American population could simply purchase food and not even have to grow or hunt it down.
    Today, hunting is more of a “sport” than it is a means of survival in America. Hunters enjoy that “thrill” when they kill a 250-pound deer or just a rabbit or squirrel. Hunting is also an intensely physical and tiring sport; many people don’t know how much energy goes into this. As one amateur hunter put it, “A persons physical limitations are often the difference between the trophy and the average when the end of the hunt comes around. The better physical and mental shape you are in, the sharper skills you'll be working with when the opportunity presents itself.”(      http://www.hunting-trail.com/The_Campfire_Articles/Articles/arti cles_11.html). Another hunter who was considered a professional at the sport was asked a similar question on how tiring hunting can be answered similar to the other hunter above. He said, “I feel the importance of knowing your limitations can not be stressed enough. Many individuals are missing out on some incredible opportunities to hunt and get into the high country, simply because the lack of physical conditioning. That's tragic!”( http://www.hunting-trail.com/The_Campfire_Articles/Articles/arti cles_15.html) In other words hunting is a physically demanding sport even though it may not seem to be one. It is almost as demanding as American football due to the shape you must be in to accomplish the requirements of the sport.
As any other sport, hunting too has that “opposing school of though” towards it. Some Americans say it’s a cruel thing to go out and have the heart to kill innocent animals, especially when it’s just for fun and not survival. As in one newspaper article the author said, “Perhaps sportsmen and other hunt supporters should be mourning, too. We should be mourning the loss of thousands of tax payer dollars that are doled out to companies like Deer Management Systems that charge $190 per head or Fauna Research Inc. in New York, which charges $100 per head to trap and transfer deer that could have been taken during a controlled hunt.”( http://www.wlfa.org/interactive/features/Read.html )
    Hunting, though, is a “sport” which is here to stay. Hunting reflects how Americans feel about their past. It has been around for a long time and Americans have modernized and restored it in order to keep it “alive”.